New products
New products
All new products
What is a Pata Negra Ham shoulder?

What is a Pata Negra Ham shoulder?

- Categories : 【Blog Jamón Pasión】

As the name suggests, it is a shoulder of pork with a black hoof. But not all pork shoulders with this colour feature are considered "pata negra", not even the Iberian ones. In order to qualify as such, they must fulfil only one essential characteristic: they must be made from the forelegs of a 100% purebred Iberian pig fed on acorns during the fattening period. All other ham legs, even if they have a black hoof, cannot be called "pata negra", in fact, it is forbidden.

Although the vast majority of Iberian acorn-fed ham shoulders have a black hoof, it is also possible to find them with a blond hoof, such as the "Manchado de Jabugo or Rubio Andaluz" breed; even the white DUROC breed can have a black hoof.

Origin and Tradition

Pork shoulders and hams have their roots in the rich gastronomic tradition of the whole Iberian Peninsula, being an integral part of the Spanish culinary culture.

From centuries ago, their origin is closely linked to the breeding of Iberian pigs in regions such as Jabugo in the province of Huelva; Guijuelo in Salamanca and in the provinces of Extremadura and Cordoba, with a great tradition in ham production, where the climatic conditions and the natural environment contribute to the unique quality of these shoulders, where later the Protected Designations of Origin Jabugo, Guijuelo, Dehesa de Extremadura and Los Pedroches appear.

The expression Pata Negra

Pata Negra is an expression used in Spain to refer, especially in relation to food, to products of the highest quality, and is taken precisely from the 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham or pata negra ham, which within the world of cured hams is the one that holds the title of best ham. It is also used by extension to refer to anything of very good quality.

Characteristics of the pata negra Iberian shoulder ham

The percentage of Iberian breed and the pig's diet is the basis for the exquisiteness of these ham shoulders.

Raised in the wild throughout its life and fed on a diet that includes herbs, wild grasses and acorns during the montanera, the last phase of fattening, which lasts from October to March, the pig acquires an unmistakable flavour.

    - The flavour of these paletas is a symphony of intense and complex nuances. The meat offers smoky and salty notes, with a perfect balance between the sweetness of the fat and the intensity of the flavour.
    - The juicy texture combines with the softness of the fat that melts on the palate, creating a unique gastronomic experience.

Both hams and shoulders from 100% Iberian acorn-fed pigs have a greater amount of superfluous fat, i.e. around the leg, than Iberian shoulders from other categories, such as cebo and cebo de campo.

It is important to know that an Iberian shoulder of pata negra has a yield of only 30% of the total weight of the piece, and for people who are not used to its consumption, they may think that this is not normal.


There are no varieties of the pata negra iberico pork shoulder. All of them are 100% Iberian acorn-fed. The production of all the hams is regulated by a Royal Decree to guarantee their quality, so all the pieces must meet the same requirements, which are very demanding and exhaustive.


There can be differences in price. Leaving aside those with an exorbitant price, which has more to do with the marketing of the brand than with the quality, depending on the geographical area of production; if they do not contain additives (the curing process is longer) or if they have the European label of "Protected Designation of Origin" (PDO), the price will be higher. The BIO pata negra 100% iberico acorn-fed shoulder hams, since their process is much more laborious, also have a higher price.

Some producers select, once the pigs have been analysed, the shoulders and hams with the highest amount of oleic acid, which provides an extra aroma and flavour to the meat which, in itself, is already of exceptional quality.

The packaging format will also influence the product, both the type of packaging of the ham shoulder and the box.
At Jamón Pasión you can buy iberico pata negra shoulders cheaper than in many other places, as we have agreements with the manufacturers and we ship directly from the production areas.

The perfect pairing

Although at a popular level ham has always been associated with red wine, in reality, in areas with a long tradition of consumption and production of Iberian ham, the best combination are the so-called "generous" wines such as fino or manzanilla, which are dry white wines, which, thanks to their acidity, contrast with the fat of the ham and leave the palate clean and ready for the next mouthful.

Whites and even cavas are a good choice. As for red wines, a young wine is always better, as a reserva or gran reserva will mask the subtle nuances of the ham.

Storage and tasting Tips of iberico ham

It is essential to keep these 100% Iberian bellota acorn-fed shoulder hams in a cool, dry place. Above all, keep them away from direct sunlight or domestic appliances that emit heat. They should always be kept unwrapped, so that they can "breathe".

When slicing, it is recommended to use a sharp ham knife and make thin cuts to fully appreciate the texture and flavour. The fat, being an essential part, should be retained to enhance the sensory experience. It makes no sense to remove the fat from pata negra ham shoulders, as it is this part that gives them their unique flavour, texture and aroma.

In the Jamón Pasión online shop you have the option of buying boneless or sliced pata negra acorn-fed ham shoulder, ideal formats for people who do not handle a knife well, do not have space in the kitchen for a whole ham shoulder or simply for convenience. These formats are always vacuum-packed to preserve the meat as the bone and outer rind are removed.

Share this content

Add a comment


H.W.M. - 2024-05-29 14:12:37

Sehr interessante informative Artikel. Herzlichen Dank.